In Arizona, being convicted of certain offenses can result in having your vehicle impounded for 30 days. Vehicle impoundment means holding a vehicle in a storage lot or tow yard for a mandatory amount of time. It is important to know what to do if your vehicle gets impounded in Arizona, including how to get your car back.
What Is Arizona’s 30-Day Impound Law?
In Arizona, it is possible to have your vehicle impounded for committing certain traffic offenses and moving violations. Impoundment is a vehicle hold that is required by state law with only some exemptions for early vehicle release. Arizona Revised Statute Section 28-3511 states that a peace officer has the right to remove and either immobilize or impound a vehicle for 30 days if he or she determines that the person driving the vehicle has committed a certain offense, such as:
- Driving under the influence (extreme DUI and aggravated DUI only)
- Underage drinking
- Driving without a valid license
- Getting into an accident with a suspended license
- Getting into an accident with no proof of insurance
Typically, a 30-day vehicle impoundment is reserved for serious moving violations, such as driving while intoxicated with a minor under the age of 15 in the vehicle or having multiple DUIs. In many cases, multiple factors or aggravating circumstances must be present to have a vehicle impounded.
What to Do if Your Vehicle Has Been Impounded
If your motor vehicle gets taken under Arizona’s 30-day impound law, you will receive a Notice of Impoundment. This document will contain all the information that you need to retrieve your vehicle at the end of the mandatory holding period, such as the storage company’s name and the location of the car. You will have the right to a hearing to attempt to get your vehicle out early. You must request this hearing within 10 days of the impound. Your impound hearing will be before a police officer from the department that impounded your vehicle, not a judge.
During your impound hearing, you or your criminal defense attorney can argue that you did not commit the charge(s) for which your vehicle was impounded. An attorney can help you gather and present evidence to support this claim. If successful, you will be able to get your car out of a mandatory hold early. Unfortunately, you will still be responsible for paying all fees and charges associated with the impoundment.
It costs money to get your vehicle back after it has been legally impounded. You will have to pay for the price of towing your vehicle to the holding lot and a daily storage fee. The maximum storage fee allowed in Arizona is $25 per day. If a storage lot uses the maximum fee, 30 days’ worth of fees would equal $750. In addition, you may have to pay a $150 administrative fee to the city. These costs come in addition to fulfilling any other requirements that are necessary to have the vehicle released to you, such as reinstating your driver’s license.
Do You Need an Attorney for Your Vehicle Impoundment Case?
Most people rely on their vehicles to get to and from work, school, church and other important places. Having your vehicle taken away and impounded for 30 days can have a major impact on your life. You may also be facing additional consequences for the underlying offense that you allegedly committed, such as fines, jail time and the loss of your driver’s license.
A criminal defense attorney in Arizona can help you deal with vehicle impoundment. Your lawyer can defend you against criminal charges that resulted in the impoundment of your vehicle, for example. Your lawyer can also assist you with the necessary steps to get your car back, such as reinstating your driver’s license, paying all necessary fees, filling out the release paperwork, and proving your identity and vehicle ownership.
For more information about how to navigate Arizona’s 30-day impound law, contact The Law Offices of John Phebus for a free case consultation.